Forgiveness with a smile

| Brad Parent | January 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

The heat in the gym was oppressive. The boiler in the building had just been fired up for the winter, but the ventilation wasn’t working properly, turning the gym into a sauna. I was hot, sweaty and annoyed. So I propped open a door.

A few minutes later a security guard came in. I had seen him before working at the security desk, but had never talked to him. He walked around the gym, made sure everything was OK, and politely asked if I knew who had propped the door open.

“I did,” I snipped defiantly.

“I’m sorry, you can’t do that. We need to keep it secure,” he replied.

“It’s too hot in here,” I said, annoyed.

“I know, man, we have the HVAC guys working on it. But we need to keep the door closed.”

I rolled my eyes and walked away.

Needless to say this wasn’t my proudest moment. Later as I showered and changed, I realized how immature and self-centered I had been. Sure, it was a little warm. But that doesn’t give me the right to be rude and show a complete lack of respect for another person.

Before going back to my office, I did the only thing I could think of to try to make things right. I stopped by the security desk where the man I had snapped at a few minutes ago was sitting. “Hey, man, I was a real jerk to you earlier. I’m sorry,” I said sheepishly.

His face curled into a smile. I continued, “You were just doing your job, making sure everything is safe. I know it’s not your fault, but I took it out on you, and I shouldn’t have.”

“Ahhh, don’t worry about it. No big deal,” he said. He reached out to shake my hand and asked what my name was.

“Brad,” I replied.

“Brad, I’m Ron. Thanks for stopping by.”

And just like that, Ron and I were good.

It’s amazing that such a small thing, simply stopping to admit I was wrong and apologize, was all Ron needed to forgive me with a smile. We now have a better relationship than we did before.

Our relationship with Jesus is no different. Try as we might, we all fall short and sin, probably more often than we’d like to admit. When we do, we damage our relationship with Jesus. The good news is that he is longing to be reconciled with us. He wants nothing more than to pour out his mercy on us and wipe away our sin as if it had never happened. All we have to do is ask with sincere hearts.

Jesus is literally waiting for us, acting through his priests. He is sitting in confessionals all over the archdiocese, waiting, hoping, longing for us to simply ask for his mercy. Maybe it has been a little longer than you’d like to admit since you’ve been to confession. Jesus is still waiting. And he still wants nothing more than to forgive you.

Imagine if I had ignored Ron because I was ashamed of how I had acted. Every time I walked past him there would be an unspoken tension because of how I had wronged him. Even though he might have wanted to forgive me, he couldn’t do anything to change that unless I apologized. The same is true with Jesus, and when we fail to ask forgiveness we are putting a barrier between ourselves and him. Give him a chance to take down that barrier, and you might just see a smile curl across his face, just like Ron.

Parent is a consulting actuary and parishioner of St. Mark in St. Paul.

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Category: Catholic Watchmen